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WHEN I ASKED OUR CONTRIBUTORS what comfort meant to them I knew we would receive impassioned responses and poignant comments: but I was struck by how important comfort is to all of us, and how our clothing and furnishings bring a sense of warmth and peace to our lives. Whether you find comfort in relaxing in an overstuffed armchair or snuggling under an antique quilt, it is a valued and necessary part of our lives. For me it has to be a cashmere blanket; on a desert island it would be my luxury to keep the sea breeze from my shoulders during cool evenings. On page 97 discover the comfort of traditional Finnish felt slippers for yourself in our subscribers offer.
In this issue we look to wool, perhaps the most comforting of all fibres, and a staple of the British textile industry. Its role in Scottish social and political history has been vital and Hamish Carruthers discusses the renaissance of textiles in the borders, page 22. Harris tweed and Bute fabrics may conjure up images of Barbara Woodhouse and One man and his Dog – but recently they have been seen in altogether more modern contexts. Big Brother’s diary room chair was upholstered in a Bute fabric and Nike is set to use tweed as a trimming for this season’s trainers.
Continuing on the Celtic note we visit Athene English in Hay-on-Wye who shares her passion for Welsh blankets, page 52 and Fritz von der Schulenburg invites us to shelter from the snow in his traditional Welsh long-house, where his globetrotting career has enabled him to amass an eclectic range of textiles to adorn his welcoming interior, page 56.
Decoration abounds on the runway during fashion week. In the midst of the current frenzy for print and pattern we home in on the attention to detail seen in Antonio Marras’s first collection for Kenzo which features exquisite adornment in the form of buttons, ribbons and pompoms, page 72.
As the party season begins our photo story reveals the elegant charm of vintage fashion in tinsel and tatters, page 12. I hope you have a wonderful festive season! If you enjoy Selvedge why not share it with a friend in our Christmas gift subscription offer? •••
Polly Leonard Editor
We asked this month’s contributors where they find comfort.
RICHARD NICHOLSON pg 52
CATHERINE HARPER pg 91
HAMISH CARRUTHERS pg 22
Adidas kangaroo-skin trainers, Japanese animation, Haribo Tangfastic gums, Samuel Beckett, 60s tower blocks, champagne cocktails, Electric Light Orchestra, Post-it notes, Burmese cats, Honda scooters, Marigold gloves, swimming goggles, Haruki Murakami, vending machines, chinagraph pencils...
Comfort is a big bowl of colcannon – potatoes and cabbage mashed together with loads of butter – with peppery cauliflower cheese and peas, cold dry white wine, big creamy candles, red things, bare feet, pink PJs, warm dogs, fat cushions, good craic with good souls, and high cocoa milk chocolate..
My comfort zone is a physical and mental blend of memory and wellbeing which I find strongest at home in my garden in the village of Gattonside. A place of family, growth, friends past and present and occasions of great fun and happiness, make it my source of constant regeneration.